My hands were raw and bleeding; dirt had worked its way into the weeping blisters. I still wasn’t done here, so I wrapped my hands in strips of fabric from my shirt and adjusted my grip on the shovel.
It was a stupid wish. I never should have made it.
I repeated the thought like a mantra, the words forming a beat in time with the thump of the shovel. I couldn’t change the past though, no matter how hard I wished. I guess it was a one-wish scenario. No take-backs. No extra wishes.
It was a stupid wish. I never should have opened my mouth.
I kept digging. I was out of breath. Mud trickled down my face and arms; a mixture of sweat and dirt. I was standing in the hole now, hefting shovel-loads of dirt up and over the edge. My eyes were gritty from clouds of soil puffing into the air.
It was a stupid wish. I shouldn’t have yelled it.
I crouched at the bottom, collecting myself, the dirt walls tucked around me. There was a gentle slope outward and up. Standing, the edge of the hole was level with my eyes. I jammed my foot into the wall, reached over the lip with both hands and hoisted myself out; hands scrabbling in the loose surface soil, feet and knees pushed tight into the wall. I flopped over the edge and lay gasping for breath.
It was a stupid wish. If I had whispered, maybe my wish wouldn’t have been granted.
I lay still, collecting my thoughts. Watching the trees above shifting in the wind, I blinked as the dappled light danced to and fro over me. The sun was casting out its last rays of golden light. The sweat on my skin prickled as the air cooled around me. I was avoiding getting up.
It was a stupid wish. As soon as it left my lips, events were out of my control.
I trudged along the narrow path, winding between ghostly tree trunks shining white in the moonlight.
It was a stupid wish. It took possession of me, determined to be fulfilled.
The strips of fabric around my hands were stiff with dried mud and pulled at my raw skin as I flexed my hands, trying to get the feeling to return to my fingertips. Pieces of dirt flaked off and swirled around me, settling in the leaves lining the path. Everything ached. I had a rock in my shoe, but I didn’t want to lose my momentum by stopping to remove it. I was nearly there. The rock dug in with every step down; I savoured the relief each time my foot lifted off the ground.
It was a stupid wish. My hands were not my own after I made that wish.
The trip back to the hole was worse.
It was a stupid wish. The wished that, once said, needed to be carried out.
I stood by the hole. I looked into the hole. It wasn’t empty anymore.
It was a stupid wish. The wish that took your breath away.
I scraped the last of the dirt into the hole and tamped it down with the shovel. I sighed and shook my head. I was tired. I scuffed my foot through the dirt I had just packed in, then spread some leaves and branches over the top. The light was too dim to tell if it looked natural.
I never should have made that wish.
And then I left, the wish buried deep amongst the trees.
I’m writing a short story daily in response to a writing prompt. Join me here for daily writing prompts.
The prompt: It was a stupid wish. I never should have made it.